This IS organized

Sometimes when I am upstairs at the desk a customer will try to open the door next to my desk because they are looking for the bathroom. The door is not marked and we keep it locked because it is really not for customers. The bathroom is downstairs.  You may be curious about what is behind that door. Well, until last Monday it was not that exciting. Embarassing, even. It is a storage closet.  Now it is a wonder of organization!  A week ago Sandy, Steph and I put together five sets of beautiful steel shelves.  Where there once was an annoying pallet there is now a designated shelf for our 50 # bags of flour, sugar, chocolate chips, extra tote bags, plastic containers and light bulbs. Christmas has come early to Piazza! We are all so so thrilled that we can walk inside that space instead of tripping.



Things are coming together, cabinets are fitting with marble tops and the tile floors, the trim is snug with the walls, the construction is wrapping up.  I brought in all the equipment over a week ago but I left it in boxes because there was still a lot of dust around and work wasn’t really done.  I didn’t want to damage anything.  After we cleaned up at the end of last week I unwrapped the scales, the panini presses and the slicers.  I was worried about there being enough electrical outlets in all the cubbies, but they’re all there, I worried that the refrigerators wouldn’t fit into their inlets but they do, everything worked out except for the slicers.  Somehow they were overlooked!  Really, it is my fault, but they just don’t fit on the counters!  They are medium-duty scales, 1/2 HP, 12″ blade but their bases are slightly big for their class.  Originally I picked Berkel slicers with the same power profile and those were the specs I submitted to Hugh Boyd, our architect.  Hugh checked the size of those and knew that they would fit on 24″ counters.  For whatever reason, I decided to switch to the Univex brand.  I did not realize how tight that counter space is or how big the slicer was so I didn’t bother to check either measurement.  Stupid!!  Another lesson learned.  

behindcounter2You can see that we’re off by about an inch and a half.  The best solution so far is to silicone glue additional pieces of marble to the top of that undercounter refrigerator (which sticks out from the cabinets) so that it equals the height of the existing counter and have the new marble butt up against the counter top as seamlessly as possible.  I’m already convincing myself that this is going to be better than the thing that was supposed to happen there, the marble was supposed to extend more right there so that it could cover that refrigerator.  This new idea gives the slicer more support!  I’m feeling much better about my mistake right now but not totally convinced.  I’ll feel better when I can see that the solution is really seamless and looks planned…to others.


On Friday our two display deli cases arrived in Easton, they came in their own truck all the way from Tennessee.  They were custom built as one 12′ unit by the fantastic Southern Store Fixtures Company.  I specifically chose Southern for several reasons; they’re American, they make beautiful cases, and they’re easy to service.  Up in New York I worked with Arneg cases and there was always a problem– they were leaking water, they froze, and their supports inside broke.  Arneg is more sexy but Southern is better in my eyes (*Three year update:  not a problem with them ever!).

Getting the beauty off the delivery truck and into the store was a scary process to watch but the case is safe and sound now.  In the first picture, the case is being moved off the delivery truck on the right, onto a rollback tow truck.  This was done on a slope so the case moved off the delivery truck just fine, but was a little stubborn about stopping once it made it to the tow truck bed…

p1010378In this picture, the roll back tow truck is lowering its bed down in front of the store.  The two brick column supports were about one inch wider than the ramp!  Once the flat bed was lowered to the ground the case was rolled down.  The angle of the ramp was relatively steep compared to the length of the case so the back end of the case had to be lifted by hand to clear the ramp.  That was when we discovered that the dollys were not bolted to the case.  One guy was stuck holding up the case with his back while they others rolled the case forward a bit and repositioned the dolly!  That was frightening for everyone.  Now the case is safe and sound.  Stay tuned for the unveiling! p1010379

The latest snag in our building process concerns the grease trap.  Until this week I have never heard of a grease trap.  The Bedford Cheese Shop didn’t have one.  I don’t think.  No one ever talked about having to clean one or check on one or fixing one so we must not have had one because everything else broke at least once.  

In any case, our architect included one in our plans because he knows about these things.  On Tuesday I got a call from Amy who is reviewing our plans at the County Office of Environmental Health about item P-10, the grease trap.  She informed me that we needed to alert Mr. Talbot Bone that we planned to install a grease trap in our store because he will know which type we need to get.  Mr. Bone works for the Easton’s public wastewater facility and so our waste will be passing through his system.  This morning I learned that Mr. Bone also does consulting with the Town Building Inspector and he is the final authority on whether or not our grease trap is approved.  

Phew, okay, so what I needed to find out was what he was looking for but because I don’t know anything about grease traps, this was confusing.  He told me “20 minute retention time” and “baffles” but those specifications kind of went in one ear and out the other.  He told me to ask my plumber but I don’t know who my plumber is.  My restaurant equipment dealer, Sandy Wyatt came to the rescue.  She pulled up a GRD, that’s a grease recovery device, and this morning, after figuring out that Amy isn’t the one who gives the ultimate thumbs up, I sent the specs over to Talbot who said:


When I quit my job working for someone else (the Bedford Cheese Shop) and started working on this store full time I focused on choosing the equipment for the store.  For this kind of store that includes display refrigerators and storage refrigerators, sinks and their drains.  I was looking for things that were sturdy and looked pretty because aesthetics are hugely important in a specialty store.  

I started with the display refrigerators.  I knew that the Arneg brand from Italy was gorgeous but they break a lot.  At Bedford, ours leaked water repeatedly, the coils froze, the supports collapsed, and they didn’t keep the temperature very even.  I found the Federal brand’s market series to be in line with my aesthetic and I asked the fish guy at Grand Central how his have held up for him.  He said that he has had no trouble in ten years.  Sounds great but I knew that they were not the best.  Our architect recommended that I check out the Southern Fixtures brand from Alabama.  They make custom “store fixtures” which was a new term to me.  Hugh told me that the Grand Central Murray’s uses that brand.  Here it is:

The front glass is flat and it seems sturdy.  We’re going to go for them.  We are getting one 8 ft. case and one corner case.  


The other refrigeration units we need:

 A single unit glass door refrigerator (for drinks and butters),









A matching single unit glass door freezer (for frozen sauces, pastas and gelati),









A single unit under counter glass door refrigerator (for meats and cheese storage in the front of the house),










A 27″ wide sandwich prep unit (where you keep your toppings for sandwiches),










A two unit solid door refrigerator, back of house,

A single unit solid door freezer, back of house (backstock frozen food plus par-baked breads).


       All of this equipment we are getting from the TR series made by True.  I looked at the Hoshizaki refrigerators for the sales area because they are more beautiful than the True models.  But the TR series is the top line from True and they are one of the biggest producers in the business.  Read: repairmen should know how to fix them.  I liked the Hoshizaki equipment but they don’t make freezers with glass doors so I didn’t end up ordering them.  Apparently they are really durable and very reliable, I was told that Burger King uses them.  When I was at a Cinnabon on the New Jersey Turnpike the other day, I noticed that they had Hoshizaki equipment in the back!  Maybe it’s good that we picked something different…


The other equipment we need:

Two scales with calculators and printers,

Two heavy-duty slicers (Univex was recommended to me as a machine powerful enough for slicing cheese),

A half size convection oven for finishing par-baked bread (there aren’t many European style bakers around here!),







One panini press with two pressing grills,









Two hand sinks,

One three basin sink,

One mop sink,

One food processor (for making our own spreads out of olives or pre-roasted vegetables).


Yesterday I called Sandy from Restaurant Equipment in Cambridge, MD to let her know that we need to order the Southern Fixtures ASAP.  The Southern cases take about 8-10 weeks to be built which is about how long our construction is going to take.  The True stuff should take about 4-6 weeks to arrive and the sinks and scales can be ready in one or two weeks.